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Archive for Immune System

Extra Help for Your Immune System

More so than at other time in recent history we are concerned with our immune systems. So, I thought I’d take a bit of time to discuss some extra things that we can do that are more “outside the box” than most of the things we usually discuss. Remember that I’m a Naturopathic Doctor, so I don’t talk about treating or curing diseases, but, from a purely educational perspective, here are some body system ideas that we consider when we are trying to get people to think of things they can do to get their body systems operating with more efficiency. So here are a few things to consider.

Foods:

  • Spicy foods add pathogen-destructive and immune-stimulating nutrients. Many spices like clove, ginger, onions, horseradish, peppers and garlic are common helpful ones.
  • Nutrient rich fruits and vegetables of varied colors provide just as varied nutrients. Your body needs all the nutrients to fuel its functions.
  • There are a number of mushrooms that boost your immune system. Many farmers markets are now selling these “medicinal” mushrooms. Consider Agarikon, which is reported to have similar benefits to olive leaf and Echinacea, known immune system supporters. Cordyceps is used primarily for energy support, but is also praised for its lung support effects. Combinations of Cordyceps, Reishi and Chaga are touted for their ingredients to help you breathe better. And one company I know of processes flavored, blended mushroom extracts and mushroom combinations that are meant to support your immune system.

Remedies your grandma used:

  • Hot toddies. I’ve never been a drinker. But whenever we “caught” something as kids, my folks made their annual trips to the liquor store for whiskey! A Hot Toddy was made from three ingredients; drinkable alcohol (in our family it was whiskey), lemon juice (a citric acid that alkalizes your body), and raw honey (the perfect bee food that is nutrient rich in enzymes that break down foods (pathogens?) in your stomach. It’s interesting to me that we are all trying to make hand sanitizers because the news media have told us that the alcohol will kill pathogens.
  • Brush your teeth with salt and baking soda. I always thought it was because we couldn’t afford toothpaste; perhaps it was. But we now know that salt is a preservative that was used to move meat across the prairies because it caused it to remain unspoiled by pathogens that inhabited the environment. And nothing lives in the Dead Sea, a natural source of salt and other minerals. And baking soda is an alkalizing element, and my training has taught me that no pathogen can live in an alkaline environment. So, we put it in our refrigerators to get rid of decaying smells, and in our stomachs for easing an upset. My dad used it as his “go to” for digestive upset.
  • Any time we were sick, especially if we had hampered breathing, mom (and grandma) pulled out the vaporizer and filled it with VapoRub! Now we know the pathogen-killing and breath-restoring powers of many of our essential oils in a modern diffuser. We have blends with essential oils of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, rosemary, tea tree, neem, and others to ward off pathogens, and chamomile and lavender to help us sleep.
  • Chest rubs. Arnica, eucalyptus, tea tree, neem and others in plain ole Vaseline was what they used. Many of our commercial products vary slightly, but are just as effective.
  • And don’t forget the annual cleansing of castor oil. It either made me throw up or run for the bathroom. Either way it did a number on cleaning me out. I’d check with my doctor before I did that again, but many a kid has endured it with what ended up to be positive results!

Many of the old remedies have modern counterparts. The new ones often seem more humane to me, but I note that I lived to tell the tales and I seem to be healthy as I do!

Your immune system is the battlefront for us in these trying times of “dis- ease”. Keeping yours strong doesn’t just happen. It takes planning, work, caution and often the help of others. Don’t let it get neglected in the rush of life.

Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Alternative Health Clinic and Market, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit https://thehealthpatch.com.

Fighting Pathogens

We are currently in the middle of a rare and dreadful pandemic. Anytime I want to talk about things we can do to protect ourselves from these scary times, I begin by reminding my friends, family members and customers that I am a Naturopathic Doctor, not a Medical Doctor. As such we discuss body systems and do not seek to diagnose, cure or treat any named diseases. So, I am not trying to tell you how to prevent or “cure” any diseases – current pandemics, or even common diseases. Your body has a system to help you stay healthy, even in times of environmental stress. It is the immune system, and I simply want to help you understand some things that you can do to keep your immune system strong and active so that it will be better able to protect you in such times.

In a blog we did several years ago, I stated that “your immune system is made up of many body parts with big names like bone marrow, tonsils, spleen, thymus, and a subsystem called the lymphatic system with its many lymph “nodes” (collection points).” You can look back on our website at the blog entitled “A Child’s View of the Immune System” to get those details.

The bottom line is that the body has a system to protect you from the adverse effects of all kinds of pathogens. Let’s define “pathogen”. Directly from the web, I found this definition: “In biology, a pathogen, in the oldest and broadest sense, is anything that can produce disease. A pathogen may also be referred to as an infectious agent, or simply a germ”. We often refer to some common pathogens as bacteria, viruses, yeasts, fungi, poisons, parasites, …, anything not natural to the body which could result in disease if not killed, eliminated, or simply passed on.

So, it stands to reason that the stronger and healthier our immune systems are, the better they will perform these functions. The next logical question then is “how do I keep my immune system strong?” I have a few ideas.

  • Dr. Joel Wallach, the Father of modern supplementation for humans, made a list several years ago of some 90+ nutrients that your body needs every day to perform all of its required functions. I did a blog several years ago on his complete lecture, but for purposes here I’ll just reiterate that he said “if you die before the age of 120, you’ll either die of an accident or a nutritional deficiency.” Therefore, it makes sense that a great place to start is to ensure you’re getting as many of these nutrients each day as possible. An absolute minimum would be a good quality vitamin and mineral supplement!
  • Just as your house collects clutter and needs regular cleaning, so does your body. Normal, less-than-perfect lifestyles necessitate regular body cleansing. Such a regimen is essential to good health. Next week, I’ll talk about a “whole body” cleanse that I like and personally use twice a year. Again, a great place to start.
  • Exercise regularly. Several body systems need movement to perform their functions. I recently read a medical article that declared that “a sedentary lifestyle is the new cancer.” It referred to the increase in disease which can be attributed to our just “doing nothing.”
  • Learn your genetics. You may need to be taking supplements to counteract family genetic weaknesses. I take a number of things for my heart because most of my family have died of heart failure. My cardiologist told me this has already once saved my life!
  • I don’t know who introduced the statement “cleanliness is next to Godliness”, but I understand the thought behind it. Clean lifestyles are also necessary. We live in a dirty, polluted world. We overtax our body’s immune systems by not taking better care of ourselves. Bathing, brushing your teeth, washing your hands regularly, and other common hygiene habits are necessary. Look at the differences in health conditions and life expectancy figures between our country and many countries where even simple water sources aren’t available.

There are many herbs, teas, supplements and essential oils to assist your body in putting up a good fight against those pathogens that would make you ill. But daily attention to our overall health and good health habits, including good nutrition, plenty of rest and exercise, and adjustments of unhealthy lifestyles and habits, will often “win the day”. Work at staying healthy and you won’t have to work so hard to get well.

Give your body a “fighting chance”. Give it the tools to strengthen your immune system, so it can fight the common pathogens in our own environments and keep us healthy.

Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Alternative Health Clinic and Market, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit thehealthpatch.com.

Multi-Level Healing

healing, multi-level healing, naturopathic doctorUsually, when we get sick our aim is to alleviate the symptoms.  We simply want to quit hurting and suffering and feel better. So, we look to those who can offer us relief and not really healing. Relief may lessen the symptoms that cause us discomfort and stress, but may not do anything to actually alleviate the root causes of that discomfort, causing us to feel better temporarily, but the symptoms return as soon as the medication (whatever it is) wears off.

We need healing on multiple levels – alleviate the symptomatic discomfort, find the root cause of the discomfort, and then promote true health in the affected area of the body.

Causes of stress may include any or all of the following: simple fatigue, known or unknown tissue wear or injury, nutrient deficiency, or our response to external pathogens.

Tissue Wear

Tissue wear is a part of the aging process, and while regular exercise is an essential pillar of good health, it should be commensurate with our age and our normal activity levels. Even the staunchest of athletes get occasional tissue damage, so it is important to start slow when starting to exercise. It’s easy to injure tissues that are not regularly manipulated if we jump into something new. If an injury does occur, look for creams and lotions containing arnica, camphor, menthol, capsicum, boswellia, and turmeric for short-term healing and don’t forget to seek medical care for more serious injuries.

Nutrition

As for nutrition, Dr. Joel Wallach (1991 Nobel Prize nominee for his work in nutritional supplements) states that we need 60 minerals, 16 vitamins, 12 essential amino acids, and three essential fatty acids in our diet every day to really stay healthy for life.  And that doesn’t count the addition of other herbal supplements that may be needed to help combat “family histories” of disease.  For example, you may need additional supplements if your family has a genetic history of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, etc.  And there’s a real sense of truth in the old adage “you are what you eat”.  Your body isn’t going to function well on a daily diet of junk foods, fats, and sugars.

Immune System

Our immune system should be kept at optimum to address the bombardment of a host of environmental pathogens – viruses, bacteria, yeasts, fungi, etc. These may reoccur and many have a variety of symptoms. Most people have a susceptibility to common pathogens that they have come to know and have treatments for. But finding the right match of a supplement for a specific pathogen may require the help of a health care professional.  If you’re continually fighting the same symptoms of recurring varieties of symptoms, get help!

stress free, low stressStress and Fatigue

Stress and fatigue are known contributors to all kinds of ailments.  If your life is in chaos or you’re going through a particularly stressful time, try to set aside time to just rest or find pleasant things to occupy your time – take even a mini vacation or “stay-cation.” You’ll reap super rewarding health from it. Enjoy a full life and always seek out healing on multiple-levels.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com. See our blog at www.TheHealthPatch.com. Our full staff is now offering affordable private consultations – call to schedule yours!

Back to School

It’s that time of year again.  The kids lament and the moms breathe a sigh of relief.  Summer seems to get shorter and shorter, and ever more full of activities.  So there is little time for rest and then it’s back to the routine of homework and school activities.  What can we do to help our kids get the most from their school experience?  Here are some ideas.

A well-balanced vitamin and mineral supplement is a necessity.  The purpose of every cell in our bodies is to produce energy.  But they must have a balance of proper nutrients as well as adequate water, exercise and rest to accomplish this task.  Since most of us don’t get regular, well-balanced meals, supplements help to meet this need.

Mental alertness is imperative.  Establish a routine early in the school year.  Schedule adequate time for rest, exercise, homework and desired activities.  It takes planning and hard work to fit in everything and balance all the desires of a healthy, well-adjusted young person.  There are some wonderful nutrient supplements to help with mental alertness, too.  They can aid with focus and concentration and they are all natural.  This is especially important if your child has focus and attention challenges.  Talk to the folks in your local herb shop about specific supplements for your child’s special needs.

Also, consider adding an immune system booster to your child’s supplement regimen here at the beginning of the school year.  I’d recommend an echinacea or elderberry supplement.  This is also important as the flu season starts up in another couple of months.  But as we begin to gather in classrooms we mix our ailments with those of our classmates and become susceptible to “who knows what!”

This is also the time of year that we usually see the first round of head lice.  There are some excellent natural shampoos and treatments to get rid of this infestation.  One effective recipe using essential oils is to mix two drops of eucalyptus oil, one drop each of lavender oil and geranium oil, and a teaspoon of any of the common carrier oils.  Then massage this into the hair, leave it for at least a half an hour, and shampoo and rinse.  An excellent rinse is made by combining two drops each of these three oils with half an ounce of vinegar and eight ounces of water.  Make sure you rinse every hair and let it dry naturally.  Repeat this process daily until all the lice and eggs are gone. My grandma used to say that a good head scrubbing with old-fashioned lye soap was a great natural remedy for this, too.

Does your child suffer from acne?  They certainly don’t want to return to school with outbreaks of skin rashes and pimples.  Help them alleviate this problem with a good hygiene regimen.  There are some wonderful herbal programs and some herbal blend supplements to help also.

Finally, remember that the new school year also brings on other conditions for the average student: increased mental stress, increased muscle aches and pains for those involved in school sports, and increased emotional anxiety.  Every student experiences these on different levels.  Watch your students and listen to them.  If a supplement is in order to help them adjust, contact your health food store or herb shop.

This is a wonderful time of the year.  We anticipate fall and the end of summer.  We look forward to school accomplishments and rejoining friends in daily communication.  But it can be a time of added stress.  Be sure to put a positive twist on every adventure.  Enjoy life and make it full. Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1:29.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com.

Kid’s Health

School’s out – summer’s here!!! What do our kids need to stay healthy? Well for starters, a well-balanced vitamin and mineral supplement is a necessity.  The purpose of every cell in our bodies is to produce energy.  But they must have a balance of proper nutrients as well as adequate water, exercise and rest to accomplish this task.  Since most of us don’t get regular, well-balanced meals, supplements help to meet this need.

Establishing Mental Alertness

Mental alertness is an imperative.  Establish a routine early.  Schedule adequate time for rest, exercise, and desired learning activities.  It takes planning and hard work to fit in everything and balance all the desires of a healthy, well-adjusted young person.

Supplements to Enhance Alertness

There are some wonderful nutrient supplements to help with mental alertness, too.  They can aid with focus and concentration and they are all natural.  This is especially important if your child has focus and attention challenges.  Talk to the folks in your local herb shop about specific supplements for your child’s special needs.

Supplements to Enhance the Immune System

Also consider adding an immune system booster to your child’s supplement regimen.  I’d recommend an elderberry supplement.  During the summer we mix our ailments with those of our friends and become susceptible to “who knows what!”

The Stress of Summer

Finally, remember that summer also brings on other challenges for the average kid: increased mental stress, increased muscle aches and pains for those involved in sports programs, and increased emotional anxiety.  Every student experiences these on different levels.  Watch your kid and listen to them.  If a supplement is in order to help them adjust, contact your health food store or herb shop.

This is a wonderful time of the year.  But it can be a time of added stress.  Be sure to put a positive twist on every adventure.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com.